EXERCISES TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION AND GAS | 8 EXAMPLES
- Medically reviewed by: Horia Marculescu, MD
- Photo credits: Licenses / Author
- Last updated: 21.07.2021
Constipation and gas are two symptoms that have the same causes, like eating bad food combinations, dehydration, or not exercising enough.
To help with these symptoms and improve digestion, here are eight exercises to relieve constipation and gas: balasana, crunches, deep squat, supine twist, forward lunges, wind-relieving pose, legs up-the-wall pose, and half knees to chest pose.
Some of these exercises focus mostly on the abdomen (crunches), and some of them are yoga exercises (balasana, wind-relieving pose). Some of them are excellent pelvic floor exercises (deep squat).
Follow the guide and use all of these exercises for both constipation and gas relief. Put your body to work out and get in shape in the comfort of your home.
Balasana (Child’s Pose or Child’s Resting Pose) is a modern yoga pose used everywhere. It is simple and requires little effort to practice.
This yoga pose is one of the best exercises to relieve constipation and gas because it contracts the abdomen and increases the anorectal angle. These things create sufficient pressure to evacuate the stool and the gas.
Try combining this yoga posture with a few exercises like crunches, swimming, and jogging to have better results in the long-term.
How to use Balasana for gas and constipation relief?
- Place a yoga mat on the floor.
- Position the front of your body with your face (in a squatting position) on the mat.
- Keep your forehead and shoulders on the mat.
- Keep your palms on the mat, near the hips.
- Stay in this posture for 3-5 breaths.
- Now, raise your body and repeat.
Practice this movement 10-15 times with small breaks in between. You can also keep your arms and palms in front of your head. Try to warm-up before and do some stretches for constipation to prevent muscle soreness.
According to a review on physical exercise and yoga published by The U.S. Nation Center for Biotechnology Information: Evidence shows that yoga (physical postures, regulated breathing) has the same or superior results as exercising.
Crunches are probably the most effective exercises to relieve constipation and gas because they put the abdominal muscles to work.
Also, crunches create lots of pressure for the gas to push the stool towards the rectum. This type of exercise is excellent for abdominal workouts and warm-ups.
Sometimes crunches and sit-ups can cause constipation. This thing usually happens when you combine a workout with fatigue, stress, or other symptoms.
How to do crunches to help with constipation and gas?
- Position your back and bottom on the fitness mat.
- Stay straight parallel to the floor.
- Lift your knees halfway to the ceiling.
- Position your arms behind your head.
- Inhale air.
- Now, raise your body and head towards the knees.
- Return to the initial posture, and exhale the air.
Repeat this exercise 10 times, and continue with 5-10 series. Try to move your chin closer to your knees. Move slowly and gently at first.
Try to inhale air slowly into your lungs to fill them. When your body is in a vertical position, exhale the air. This thing is the proper way to breathe and to release all the air inside the lungs.
3. DEEP SQUAT
One of the best exercises to relieve constipation and gas is the deep squat. The reason is that it creates a clear path for the stool and gas to evacuate. This thing is possible by increasing the anorectal angle and relaxing the puborectalis muscles.
The deep squat is an excellent exercise to stimulate bowel movement in the long-term. Also, it is a practical workout for your pelvic floor muscles.
How to use Deep Squatting for gas relief?
- Stay on your feet straight.
- Lower your bottom towards the floor slowly.
- Stop when your knees are higher than your hips.
- Stay in this posture for 5-10 breaths.
- Return to the initial position.
Repeat this exercise 5-15 times slowly with breaks in between. Always keep your knees higher than the hips. You can rest your arms and elbows on your knees.
According to a guide about maintaining a healthy digestive system, published by The Australian Digestive Health Foundation: Regular cardio exercise stimulates the intestinal muscles to move the fecal matter towards evacuation. Also, cardio exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
4. SUPINE TWIST
The Supine Twist is one of the few yoga poses that help digestion by moving the stool inside and increasing the blood flow to your gut. It is an excellent way for stress relief. It helps evacuate the stool and the gas inside the large intestine.
How to exercise with the Supine Twist for gas relief?
- Place the back of your body flat on a yoga mat.
- Keep your body straight.
- Bring the right knee to your chest.
- Keep the other leg straight.
- Now, bend your right leg over the left one.
- Place your right knee on the floor.
- Hold this posture for 3-5 breaths.
- Return and switch sides.
Repeat this gentle yoga twist 5-10 times slowly. Try to keep your body straight as much as possible.
According to The American College of Gastroenterology - “Experts say exercise benefits patients (with IBS, IBD)”: Yoga is a way to maintain good health (The Center for Functional HI and Motility disorders). Also, Low-impact workouts that do not involve jarring movements are beneficial to IBD.
5. FORWARD LUNGES
Forward Lunges are excellent exercises to relieve gas and constipation because they increase the anorectal angle and create pressure inside the intestines.
Similar to the deep squat exercise, this exercise is a practical exercise for fast constipation relief.
If you keep your body near the floor for more than four breaths, you will work the pelvic floor muscles. Also, it puts to work the hips, knees, and abdomen. This thing is beneficial to prevent muscle soreness.
How to train with Forward Lunges to help with constipation and gas relief?
- Stand tall on your feet straight.
- Take a step forward with your right leg.
- Keep the left foot on the floor.
- Lower your body to the floor.
- Bend the right foot until the left knee reaches the ground.
- Bend the left leg.
- When the left knee touches the ground, press the right heel and get up.
Repeat this exercise 10-15 times by switching the legs. Start slow and take breaks.
As reported by an article about functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders, published by International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: Pelvic floor physical therapy helped fecal incontinence (reducing the episodes of incontinence - in children with pelvic floor dyssynergia).
6. WIND-RELIEVING POSE
The Wind-Relieving Pose is one of the most effective yoga postures to use in the long-term because:
- It increases the anorectal angle.
- It relieves gas with ease.
- It works the abdominal muscles.
Practicing this posture on the fitness mat is an excellent way to sculpt your abdomen in the comfort of your home.
If you are looking for a simple exercise to relieve constipation and gas (as the name suggests), then the Wind-Relieving Pose is the best choice.
How to use the Wind-Relieving Pose for constipation and gas relief?
- Place a yoga mat on the floor.
- Position your back on the mat.
- Keep your body straight, parallel to the floor.
- Keep your legs straight.
- Pull your knees towards your chest.
- Block the knees with your arms.
- Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths.
- Release gently and repeat.
Repeat this exercise 10 times slowly (5-10 series). Start slowly and gently and do not force your body.
7. LEGS UP-THE-WALL POSE
Using this pose is one of the easiest ways to get rid of constipation and gas. The exercise involves you keeping your feet vertical to the floor. And hold them like that for 5-15 breaths.
Everyone can use this position to stimulate bowel movement with ease. The only thing you need is a fitness mat and a wall.
How to use the Legs-up-the-wall pose to get rid of constipation and gas?
- Place a fitness mat near a wall.
- Position your body parallel to the wall.
- Lay on your back and bring your feet up.
- Rotate your body with your feet on the wall.
- Adjust your position with your hands.
- Keep this position for 5-15 breaths.
- Now, return to the initial posture.
Repeat this exercise 5-10 times slowly. The more you stay with your feet up the wall, the better the gas will move for evacuation.
8. HALF KNEES TO CHEST POSE
This pose is similar to crunches because the movement involves working out your abdomen by sitting on your back.
The difference between crunches and working out with this pose is that you sit on your back. And you bring your knee closer to the chest.
How to use the half knees to chest pose to help with constipation and gas?
- Position your body with your back on the fitness mat.
- Keep your body straight at all times.
- Keep your feet parallel to the floor.
- Bring one of your knees to the chest.
- Block your knee with your arms.
- Keep this posture for 2-3 breaths.
- Release the knees and bring the other one.
Repeat this exercise 5 times for 5-10 series. Start slowly and gently, and always keep your body straight. Bring one knee at a time and breathe slow and deep.
WHAT CREATES GAS INSIDE THE INTESTINES?
Before using these exercises to relieve constipation and gas, it is essential to understand what creates gas.
Gas is the result of two types of events:
- Fermenting sugary food.
- Eating food rapidly.
Constipation is a symptom and not a disease. Constipation is the result of bad eating habits, long periods of stress, and a lack of hydration.
Constipation and gas can appear both at the same time. The difference: gas can disappear if you change the food that you eat.
Sugary food, fruits, and carbonated drinks create gas inside the intestines.
Sugary food creates gas in the intestines, most of the time. Food that contains sugar, glucose, or fructose tends to ferment fast due to heat and humidity.
If you are also looking for fast constipation relief, you can combine eating fruits with exercise. In this way, defecation will happen faster.
Fermentation inside the intestines is a process that requires:
- a warm environment.
The more sugar the food contains, the faster the fermentation process happens. Fruit or cereals ferment at high temperatures to produce alcohol.
The following foods create gas: sugar, glucose, fructose, flour, honey, milk, liquid yogurt, bread, rice, potatoes, French fries, starch, bakery products, cabbage, beans, carrots.
The following drinks create gas: carbonated sugary drinks, fresh fruit juice, beer, carbonated water, champagne, soda. The following fruits create gas: grapes, prunes, apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, watermelons.
Eating food rapidly creates constipation and gas.
Another cause of constipation and gas is eating food rapidly. In most cases, most of the time, eating food in a rush has only detrimental effects to digestion.
Aerophagia (air swallowing) is the result of doing this thing. The more rapidly you eat food or drink liquids, the more air gets inside the intestines. This thing also means that the stomach can’t prepare the food for digestion properly.
What do the experts say?
According to a study Called Aerophagia and Intestinal Gas published by The U.S. National Library of Medicine: Aerophagia is a relatively rare disorder that results from repetitive air swallowing and belching by both children and adults (may continue with abdominal distention).
According to a technical review on constipation published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information: Gas appears when the unabsorbed carbohydrates metabolize with bacteria.
WHAT KEEPS THE GAS INSIDE THE INTESTINES?
Most of the time, constipation refers to the difficulty of moving the stool from the large intestine towards the rectum. When the small intestine assimilates the food, the formed stool will start to move towards the large intestine.
Air pockets or bubbles get stuck in between fragments of new and old stool. Especially stool that stays glued to the intestinal walls for longer than twelve hours.
Large quantities of hard and dry stool usually block the air inside the large intestine. The feeling is bloating, belly expanding, and the need to evacuate the gas.
How gas pushes the stool for evacuation?
Whenever you do some exercises to relieve constipation and gas, the following things happen:
- Abdominal muscles contract and move.
- Muscle contraction and movement create pressure.
- The pressure pushes the gas.
- The gas presses the stool forward.
- Finally, the formed stool moves.
Pressure and muscle movement are essential to push the stool using gas. It is a domino effect that happens using only exercise and muscle movement.
Finally, if the stool stays glued to the intestinal walls, the gas will slide between the intestinal walls and the fecal matter. After it passes the rectum, the gas will evacuate on its own. We call this process flatulence.
What do the experts say?
According to a study about the role of colonic fermentation published by The U.S. National Institutes of Health: Some patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders and moderate bloating might feel hypersensitivity to products that ferment in the colon.
According to the same study: Abdominal boating is a combination of abnormal reflexes, impaired gas handling, and visceral hypersensitivity.
WHAT FOODS TO AVOID TO PREVENT GAS AFTER EXERCISE?
Try to avoid eating lots of bananas and any juice that contains bananas. Bananas transform into a very sweet starch that tends to ferment really fast.
Grapes have lots of sugar and tend to ferment really fast also. If grapes and bananas stay for too long blocked in the intestines, then fermentation will create alcohol inside.
Fermentation will create lots of pressure and gas, and the intestines will try to evacuate the gas immediately.
This thing leads to unpleasant situations like:
Also, you will feel your belly expanding and contracting often. Sometimes, abdominal discomfort can appear.
Don’t eat meat and bread or meat with any carbohydrate product. Combining foods in this way will perturb digestion and will create hard dehydrated stools.
KEEP IN MIND
Always start slow and don’t force yourself. If you feel irritation and discomfort in the abdomen area after training, you should visit a doctor.
Don’t rush any exercise because what you want to achieve is to relieve gas and constipation in the long-term. Also, try to eat according to the indications mentioned in the first chapters.
Eating healthy meals can improve bowel movement and digestion overall. This thing can also improve the way your body is assimilating proteins, vitamins, and nutrients.
According to a review on constipation published by The American Gastroenterological Association Institute: Mild physical activity relieves bloating and reduces intestinal gas. Moderate and intensive physical activity improves health and IBS symptoms (20-60 min, 3-5 days/week)
According to a guide about Nutrition and Physical Activity published by The Australian Department of Health: It is essential to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes (to get as many vitamins and minerals as possible).
Food fermentation and Aerophagia (air swallowing) are the causes of intestinal gas. Gas stays blocked inside the large intestine between new and old stool.
The following exercises to relieve constipation and gas bring many benefits to digestion and overall health: balasana, crunches, deep squat, cobra pose, supine twist, forward lunges, wind-relieving pose, legs up-the-wall pose, and half knees to chest pose.
All of these exercises are simple and require a fitness mat. Practice them using this guide in the comfort of your home.
Last medically reviewed on 21.07.2021